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mon jin lau


poshpeckish
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friends,

i don't get it. hour magazine has chosen mon jin lau as its restaurant of the year. how can this be. the place has nice decor, groovy atmosphere and its fair share swingers and shapely golddiggers. but the food? get serious. i ordered moo shu chicken one night and they sent out tortillas! i told the waitress i wanted proper pancakes. she gave me a dragon lady sigh and headed back to the kitchen five minutes later, a guy who looked like a rabbi turned hugh hefner emerged and sauntered over to the table to tell me that tortillas was all they had and they were very good tortillas. dig it baby.

ugh.

Barbarian at the Plate

Your Gourmet with an Attitude

http://www.barbarianattheplate.com

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Is this place a chain or a single-location restaurant? Where is it?

The tortilla switch-a-roo doesn't really sound like something "best" restaurant should do. I guess that's the 'fusion' aspect, right? :wink:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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It's in Troy, Michigan, on Maple Rd. near Stephenson Highway. No it's not a chain. It gets lots of critical plaudits in the metro Detroit area as one of our top Asian restaurants, so I wasn't surprised to see it nab Hour Detroit Restaurant of the Year honors. I haven't been myself, but I've been under the impression that its strong point is Asian fusion, and that the "takeout Chinese" elements of its menu were there to accommodate patrons who go there expecting takeout Chinese food.

It's like the experience I had at Hong Hua, which is also an Hour Restaurant of the Year winner, and is widely considered one of the top Chinese restaurants in Metro Detroit. I had a laughably bad experience there, but I'm wondering whether it was how I ordered. For example, one entree I ordered can be found on any bad Chinese takeout menu. The reason I ordered it was that I wanted to see how this presumably much higher level restaurant would execute such a tired old standby -- and what I got was as bad as cheap takeout. You get what you order, I suppose, but I wonder whether even more ambitious ethnic restaurants in the area feel compelled to carry such items (indifferently executed) because so many of us yokel Michiganders expect such items at Chinese/Thai/Indian/Mexican/etc. places.

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The magazine is called Hour Detroit, one of those semi-fluffy but mildly useful regional publications. Mon Jin Lau is in Troy, a northern suburb. It's been around since 1969, beginning its life as a straighforward Chinese restaurant, eventually morphing into a multi-Asian format.

Here are a couple of brief blurbs:

msnbc.msn.com

Hour Detroit

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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I was also really disappointed to see this selection. While MJL does do a good job with some dishes and might even be among the top Chinese restaurants in the area, I think it's a very, very sad time in the Detroit restaurant world when this is the best we have to offer. On a slightly different topic, I wonder why our major publications (News/Free Press, Hour) almost refuse to name a Restaurant of the Year more than once (I believe the Lark is the only restaurant to win the honor twice). It seems as if you're around long enough you'll eventually get a ROY award.

Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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  • 4 weeks later...

mon jin lau does what it does because it get away with it. that whole "nu-asian" thing is so tired and so weak that i can't believe people still fall for it. hong hua is even more of a stitch up. frankly, i'd rather eat the shin-shin in windsor.

but let's cut the crap. whatever happened to raymond wong? wong's eatery was the best chinese restaurant detroit/windsor ever had. the food was dynamite and bona fide.

the best restaurant in detroit right now is tribute. rich travis is cooking better than don yamauchi, better than even takashi yagahashi. travis' food has a solid bass end; unbelievable deep flavors, michigan flavors, without a lot of fussy, faddish preparations.

Barbarian at the Plate

Your Gourmet with an Attitude

http://www.barbarianattheplate.com

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